Saturday, 10 March 2012

Spring Musings: Offensive Line

So the o-line has been practicing like this a lot in the first three days.
LT Battle (it rhymes)
LG Thomas
C Dalt-man (yeah thats terrible I know)
RG Shatley
RT Gore

A freshman LT just sounds too scary for me. I think that the coaches want to have Battle and Gore as the two tackles but will end up putting Thomas there. I think they are right that he is a great guard as opposed to an above average tackle at this point.  He certainly has matured a ton (he was the major question mark all last summer and at the beginning of last season), he is taking a leadership role now and will be a key player with Freeman not only on the O-line but as leaders of the team.  If Gore or Battle can emerge as decent players then we have a chance to be special on offense but if they struggle then we will shuffle and rely on Tajh and quick decision making.

If Shatley turns into an 80 play right guard for the next two seasons and plays toughs and hard then I will give a lot of credit to the coaching staff, especially Dabo.  Could turn out to be the best player personnel move he has made as head coach. I was initially skeptical and still not sure exactly what this says about our last 2-3 classes of o-lineman.  Speaking of moves, I am hoping that Eric Maclain has his positioned solidified this Spring. If you want him as a Tackle then move him now or commit to keeping him at TE.

I am very disappointed with our o-lineman as a whole though.  I think we are weak and have no depth but the starting 5 have a chance to be good.  But what is new, this is Clemson every year under Batson.  This is where you want to have no injuries this year. If anyone goes down you are going to have to play someone who has played close to zero college snaps. Very scary and could potentially derail the season.

Here are some key reserves that we need to perform to have any depth. Kalon Davis is the first. Had a back injury in redshirt year (oh yeah and remember that JK Jay should be a starting tackle if not for a career ending injury doing what--lifting weights under the care of Batson) and has battled getting weight down (a theme for our o-line) but has gotten positive reviews so far in camp at LG. If Thomas is at LT then Kalon will start so big year for him.

Ryan Norton will be the back-up Center but I would be tempted to move him to guard with Guillermo looking like he will be a good center prospect as well.  Hopefully Norton can spell Dalton and cross-train this year so he can be a back-up center and guard as well.  I think Jones, Destefano, and Guillermo have looked better than expected in camp but all should redshirt.  

Other Guys

Here are some Other Guys who need to step it up or contemplate freeing up some space on the roster.  Now I am not advocating running anybody off but if you can't break the two deep with our roster than you aren't working hard enough or don't have D-1 level talent.

Matt Sanders has been a disappointment and won't break the two-deep. This is a make it or break year for Beasley who was a high 3/4* recruit out of high school but has yet to get himself into playing shape.

Gifford Timothy should be slotted for the RT spot but I don't see it. I think he is a shaky back-up right now and Webster is barely visible. I am beginning to think that we missed on these two, certainly on Webster. Timothy has a chance to really impress this spring but is getting pushed around in drills.

I like Spencer Region a lot. He has good feet but came to Clemson at like 380 or something and the weight hasn't come down enough. He needs to get down to the 340 range to even be an option.  We need his toughness so I am hoping the training table will help him shed that baby fat. Shaq Anthony is another who seems like he will be a good player but needs a bit more time.  I am hoping he can contribute on the two-deep at some point this year. 

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A blog about all Clemson Tiger University sports--football, basketball, baseball, along with the occasional South Carolina coot bashing.